Mission is faith in action and St Mary’s actively supports the work of 5 Mission Partners – B@titude, Happy Child International, International Justice Mission, Kampala Children’s Centre and Salvation Army. In addition to prayers and practical help where possible, we donate 10% of our freewill giving to our Mission Partners.
Our Mission Committee meets every 6-8 weeks and its members share updates from our Mission Partners so that, as a church, we can respond to their spiritual, practical and financial needs. We value the relationships built with our Mission Partners over a number of years, although we do periodically review our partnerships. Our aim is to support the needs of Christian missionaries and organisations in their work, an outcome of which must be the spreading of the Gospel of Christ.
Mission is supported more generally at St Mary’s with specific fundraising appeals led by church members, our women’s group, Heart and Soul, and our youth groups.
Mission is alive in St Mary’s!
Happy Child International is a Surrey based charity founded in 1992 by former St Mary’s church member Sarah de Carvalho MBE. Its vision is to rescue and rehabilitate children and teenagers from the streets and from situations of social and domestic risk, re-integrating them back into family and community.
Work on the ground started initially in the southern city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and that centre is now locally run and locally funded. In 2007 Happy Child moved its operations to Recife, north east Brazil, a city where the commercial sex trade is thriving and which has become second only to Thailand for the exploitation of young girls.
Happy Child has established a centre for young vulnerable pregnant girls and their babies who have been caught up in this evil trade. The centre creates the space in which these traumatised and emotionally disturbed girls, with their babies are offered new opportunities of education and life skills to break the cycles of poverty and violence, helping them to realise their full potential.
Kampala Children’s Centre
Founded in 2005 by Bishop Arnold Muwonge, Kampala Children’s Centre (KCC) provides a safe and loving family home environment for some of Uganda’s most desperate and vulnerable children, orphaned or suffering as a result of war, HIV/AIDS and poverty.
As a church, we have established close ties with KCC, with members of our church travelling to Uganda every year to provide “hands on” support and a number of our congregation sponsoring children from the centre and the local community. We also host members of the KCC Destiny Choir on their regular visits to the UK. The Choir has toured the UK, Belgium and the USA, performing in Parliament, at No 10 Downing Street, at the UN building in New York, the Ugandan Embassy in Brussels and in front of the President of Uganda.
Our financial support has contributed to all aspects of the development of the Kampala Children’s Centre including provision of a well for fresh water and the building and equipping of the houses, a kindergarten, primary and secondary schools (complete with kitchen, dining hall and events/conference hall) and a medical centre).
B@titude is a Christian charity committed to loving and serving the community of North Leatherhead through their shop in Kingston Road where they sell quality “as new” clothes and equipment for babies and children at reasonable prices. The shop offers a comfortable environment for coffee and snacks, as well as a small play area, enabling Christian love and support to be shared with the wider community, one of the most socially deprived in Surrey.
B@titude receives half of the Harvest Festival offering from St Mary’s as well as many donations of clothes and equipment from members of our congregation. B@titude has established a faith group for some of the mothers in the local community and St Mary’s also provides financial and spiritual support to encourage members of that group to join us at Christian women’s conferences.
International Justice Mission
Members of St Mary’s congregation were first introduced to International Justice Mission (IJM) at the Willow Creek conference in Bracknell. IJM is a worldwide Christian human rights and social justice agency founded to end modern-day slavery.
With more than 40 million people worldwide trapped in slavery, IJM’s call to justice is articulated in the Bible, Isaiah 1:17 “Seek justice, protect the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow”. IJM’s global team of lawyers, counsellors, activists and supporters are relentlessly pursuing justice in 17 communities around the world, working in the areas of forced slavery, cybersex and sex trafficking, sexual violence, land theft, police brutality and citizenship rights.
It seeks to protect those in developing countries from violence, to bring criminals to justice, to restore survivors and to strengthen justice systems. St Mary’s supports all aspects of IJM’s work globally and we have developed a prayer partnership specifically to support its operations in Bangalore.
Salvation Army, Guildford
In addition to financial donations, we support the local Guildford Salvation Army in very practical ways, mainly through food donations, but also through individual church members cooking food and helping at the Salvation Army drop-in centre for the homeless and the many single parent families. This very practical support is much appreciated, particularly the cooked meals, the companionship, the help and advice plus supplementary food parcels which are a real life saver for many.
In addition to this, half of our Harvest Festival offering goes to the Salvation Army each year and warm clothing, blankets and tents are donated during winter weather. This relationship is very much mission in action as the connection is practical and relational The ongoing support and involvement of St Mary’s members does make a tangible difference to this local Guildford-based outreach programme in the care for homeless people and those fallen on hard times.